Contributed by Malvika Chaudhary CABI Bangladesh and Madeleine Kaufmann CABI Switzerland
We would like to share with you a new innovation by Plantwise Bangladesh. They lately created a “Plant Doctor Facebook Group” having two purposes. On the one hand plant doctors can communicate with each other sharing and exchange information and experience on plant pests helping each other with diagnoses and recommendations. On the other, through this group, the CABI country coordinator (CCC) can also add Plantwise things that she thinks will be of interest for the plant doctors.
The idea for the creation of such a “Plant Doctor Group” on Facebook was had by one of the Plant Doctors himself. He is currently also the administrator of the page.
Currently the group counts 44 members. Most of them are the plant doctors and their colleagues and supervisors in the department. Some of them have also invited their friends and colleagues with similar interest in turn. Plant doctors generally post where their clinics were held, pictures from the clinic sessions, some infested crops that could not be identified, relevant pages/links and information on plant health systems.
The CCC generally post links to PW blogs, factsheets of the month, regional and even global activities of Plantwise like information on meetings, workshops and clinics happening in other regions like Vietnam, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The CCC also links them to important information from Bangladesh that would have appeared in different groups of FB, Twitter etc.
So far is difficult to estimate the impact for the Plantwise programme as the group is still very recent. But generally the posts are liked and much appreciated by all group members. A lot of content is being shared which shows that the group is interacting quite intensively.
Nevertheless, is it already possible to think about any lesson learned which would help another country’s plant doctors who may want to start a plant doctor facebook group?
Yes, says Malvika Chaudhary, CABI Country Coordinator of Bangladesh. “I think it can be made more popular if the plant doctors communicate during the training itself. Some pictures posted on the FB page are not clear to an extent to make diagnosis. But we can improve as we go forward. Plant doctors are also visiting personal FB pages and getting to know each other better. Their interest is also extended knowing about the cultural happenings in other PW country as well. The appreciation is not only limited within the country but also across regions!.”
What a promising quote and hopefully many more Plantwise countries can start such an innovative process of sharing plant health related information.